Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

Tri-State TreeView Control

, 2 Nov 2005 CPL
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
A TreeView control with tri-state checkboxes.


Microsoft provides a TreeView control in the .NET framework, but as usual it doesn't expose all the functionality that the underlying common control provides. It has the possibility to display check-boxes but they can't be tri-state check boxes.

This control adds tri-state check boxes and the necessary handling methods to check/uncheck all sub-items if the user clicks on a node, as well as displays a grey-checked check box for the parent if the siblings have differing check/uncheck states.


A tri-state TreeView is a tree view control that displays check boxes next to the tree nodes. If you click on a check box, it checks (or unchecks) the check box and all sub-nodes.

If the nodes on the same level as the clicked node have differing check states the parent node's check box is grey-checked as well as its parent's and so on.

If you click on a grey-checked check box it unchecks that node and all its subnodes.

How to use the control

Add TriStateTreeView.cs to your project and then simply drop the TriStateTreeView control on a form and use it as a regular TreeView control. The only difference is when you want to access the checked state of a node. Instead of using the treeNode.Checked property you call triStateTreeView.GetChecked(treeNode) resp. triStateTreeView.SetChecked(treeNode, checkState). Instead of a bool these methods take a CheckState.

For example, the following code snippet checks the state of all the top level nodes:

foreach (TreeNode node in m_treeView.Nodes)
  if (m_treeView.GetChecked(node) == 

How does it work?

The control derives from TreeView and sets the ImageList and SelectedImageList properties for the base control. It overrides the OnClick and OnKeyDown methods.

In the OnKeyDown method, we check if the pressed key is a space, and if it is we change the state of the selected node.

The OnClick method is a little trickier. We have to use the TVM_HITTEST Win32 API message to determine if the user clicked on the icon or on the item. If the user clicked on the icon we change the state of the selected node.


This control doesn't support displaying both check boxes and icons. If you need this functionality you have to call additional Win32 API methods. The common control tree view control supports having multiple image lists, but this functionality isn't exposed in .NET.


The control makes use of the Skybound.VisualStyle assembly from By commenting out the lines that reference that assembly it will easily work without it. Another way of making the control aware of visual styles is described here.

The demo project consists of an assembly that contains the TriStateTreeView, a demo project and a NUnit test assembly with some tests for the control.


  • 26 March 2004 - First version.
  • 28 October 2005 - Added support for visual styles and Before/AfterCheck.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Common Public License Version 1.0 (CPL)


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior)
Germany Germany
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionThis Post is very helpul for me Pinmemberashishgupta12125-Mar-13 9:46 
QuestionGracias Pinmemberjc2211871-Mar-13 16:08 
QuestionNot Displaying in Form Pinmemberpodal14-Dec-12 17:37 
QuestionThank you! Pinmemberkrillgar2-Mar-12 12:32 
Questionmuy bueno PinmemberMember 772271318-Nov-11 11:50 
BugRight To Left Pinmembernagham_4ng1-Aug-11 0:10 
GeneralRe: Right To Left PinmemberEbse17-Aug-11 6:20 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembervstetsko7-Mar-11 10:13 
QuestionUnusual Behavior PinmemberPhantom2081-Feb-11 7:35 
AnswerRe: Unusual Behavior PinmemberPhantom2082-Feb-11 6:55 
QuestionHow to use this dll in 64 bit mechines PinmemberMember 329057315-Sep-10 17:18 
AnswerRe: How to use this dll in 64 bit mechines PinmemberCody Tang8-Oct-10 0:30 
GeneralRe: How to use this dll in 64 bit mechines PinmemberMember 223057026-Dec-10 13:11 
GeneralRe: How to use this dll in 64 bit mechines PinmemberCody Tang30-Jul-11 22:49 
GeneralRe: How to use this dll in 64 bit mechines Pinmemberpman30-Jul-11 2:01 
GeneralImage problem PinmemberDevon Peterson17-Feb-10 13:53 
GeneralRe: Image problem PinmemberDevon Peterson17-Feb-10 14:20 
I've discovered a little more. If I change the build options from Any CPU to x86 then it works. Unfortunately the project I want to integrate this in must build for Any CPU.

Any suggestions?

GeneralAdded ability to have disabled nodes. You might find this usefull. [modified] PinmemberMuaddubby17-Jun-09 3:49 
GeneralRe: Added ability to have disabled nodes. You might find this usefull. Pinmembergiova12-Oct-09 23:53 
GeneralRe: Added ability to have disabled nodes. You might find this usefull. PinmemberMuaddubby13-Oct-09 6:07 
GeneralRe: Added ability to have disabled nodes. You might find this usefull. PinmemberMuaddubby13-Oct-09 7:07 
GeneralAbsolutely awesome PinmemberMuaddubby26-May-09 4:48 
Generalcontains node! Pinmembernjuniorba7-May-09 16:07 
GeneralDisable Node Pinmemberkjward20-Apr-09 5:53 
GeneralRe: Disable Node PinmemberMuaddubby10-Jun-09 9:59 
GeneralRe: Disable Node PinmemberMuaddubby18-Jun-09 11:29 
QuestionTriStateTreeView in Oracle Forms 6i Pinmemberchrisvelarde14-Mar-09 22:14 
Generalnice work Pinmemberdrakej11-Oct-08 7:39 
Generalsuppper control... tx a lot. hat off for the author and code project Pinmemberkasunth10-Sep-08 3:56 
GeneralAwesome Control! Pinmemberkjward6-Sep-08 5:57 
QuestionError using control in VS 2005 (c#) PinmemberNIPI23-Apr-08 1:10 
GeneralThis is usable in VB as well! Pinmemberjonmach18-Nov-07 8:11 
GeneralTreeView bug Pinmembermjelten30-Jul-07 0:14 
Generalcheck box can't be displayed Pinmemberjustanumber29-Jul-07 7:21 
GeneralRe: check box can't be displayed PinmemberCodeForFun20-Sep-07 8:49 
GeneralRe: check box can't be displayed Pinmemberzz_lsl20-Dec-10 4:40 
GeneralOnBeforeCheck [modified] Pinmembermjelten19-Jul-07 23:23 
QuestionReset all to unchecked? PinmemberJim Baldwin24-Jun-07 20:30 
QuestionHow to add multiple images on same tree node? Pinmembersushantya6-Mar-07 20:39 
GeneralTri-State TreeView in Pocket Project PinmemberSilas Pereira27-Feb-07 2:08 
QuestionHow do I get what is checked? PinmemberJoppeG26-Feb-07 22:33 
AnswerArrayList Bug? PinmemberJoppeG28-Feb-07 1:55 
GeneralSolved problem PinmemberJoppeG28-Feb-07 5:07 
GeneralRe: Solved problem Pinmemberjonmach18-Nov-07 8:38 
QuestionRight-To-Left Problem Pinmembermorali2k2-Sep-06 3:58 
GeneralSimplified tree-state TreeView PinmemberLaurent Muller22-Aug-06 5:35 
GeneralRe: Simplified tree-state TreeView PinmemberUncleRedz1-Nov-06 5:18 
GeneralRe: Simplified tree-state TreeView Pinmemberbarclay19-Dec-06 12:44 
GeneralRe: Simplified tree-state TreeView Pinmemberhamlet_13-Feb-07 1:38 
GeneralRe: Simplified tree-state TreeView PinmemberMartin Welker4-Jun-07 13:17 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web02 | 2.8.150414.1 | Last Updated 2 Nov 2005
Article Copyright 2004 by Ebse
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2015
Layout: fixed | fluid